Founded in 1832 by Auguste Agassiz, the company that would become Longines really came into its own in 1860 when Agassiz’s nephew, Ernest Francillon, took the watch maker’s reigns. Under Francillon, the company moved to a site called Les Longines on the river Suze in 1867, trademarked the name Longines in 1880, and registered the famous winged-hourglass logo in 1889.
Of course, Francillon did more than see to the company’s marketing needs. He also oversaw technological innovations that would make Longines one of the world’s most respected watch makers. One of his first decisions was to introduce anchor escapements into Longines timepieces. Then, in 1888, he presided over Longines’s first certified chronometer.
By 1909, Longines had enough experience with small-caliber movements that it could devote more of its attention to the jewelry watches and wristwatches that would make it famous. Two years later, it introduced a barrel-shaped wristwatch that is considered the precursor of the Longines Evidenza line, which flourished in the 1920s.
As it turns out, the winged-hourglass was a prescient symbol for a company that created numerous timepieces for pilots. In 1919, Longines became the official supplier to the International Aeronautical Federation; in 1925, a Longines accompanied aviator Antonio Locatelli on a flight to the North Pole region; and in 1926, Walter Mittelholzer wore a Longines when he flew from Switzerland to Iran.
But the association really took off, if you will, in 1927, when Charles Lindbergh made his solo flight across the Atlantic. A Longines measurement device at Roosevelt Field in Long Island marked the moment he took off; a similar Longines timepiece at Le Bourget Airfield in Paris where he landed recorded the time of the flight: 33 hours, 30 minutes, 29.8 seconds.
While in the air, Lindbergh had a lot of time to think about a lot of things, including the perfect watch, which he eventually designed for Longines. His Longines Lindbergh Hour Angle, introduced in 1932, used high-frequency quartz regulators to aid in the navigation of transatlantic flights by showing both Greenwich Mean Time and the corresponding hour angle. Needless to say, a Lindbergh Hour Angle from the 1930s is one of the most collectible antique Longines wristwatches available today.
The introduction of a wrist chronograph in 1936 allowed the aviation connection to continue in 1938, when Howard Hughes broke the speed record for a flight around the world. By t...
Calendars, water-resistance, and self-winding mechanisms were added as features to Longines watches during the 1940s. Gold and diamonds became more common as post-war prosperity allowed Longines to go after the luxury market.
And then, in 1954, Longines introduced one of its most enduring sports-lifestyle brands, the Conquest. The handsome Flagship followed in 1957. A vintage Conquest or Flagship from the 1950s is as prized by collectors today as it was by customers in the mid-20th century. Another collectible wristwatch to look from the late 1950s is the Jamboree.
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Stars Shine at Longines Paris Eiffel Jumping CompetitionWWD, July 6th
RIDING HIGH: Charlotte Casiraghi and Marion Cotillard dressed in a relaxed fashion for the Longines Paris Eiffel Jumping event this sizzling hot weekend. It was the second edition of the show-jumping competition held at the base of the Eiffel Tower and...Read more
Swatch pays highest Oxford Street rent for Longines storeEvening Standard, July 1st
Advised by Harper Dennis Hobbs, the firm will use the 411 Oxford Street building to house its first standalone shop for Longines, whose ambassador is actress Kate Winslet. Anthony Selwyn, head of central London retail at Savills, who represented the ...Read more
Longines Global Champions Tour of MonacoWorld Tempus (press release), June 28th
The magical backdrop of Port d'Hercule and the Prince's Palace in Monaco provided once again a spectacular venue for the seventh round of the Longines Global Champions Tour from 25 to 27 June. Friday was marked by the victory of Iñigo Lopez de la Osa ...Read more
All about timeless eleganceThe Hindu, June 28th
The Swiss watchmaking company put its new Longines DolceVita collection in the spotlight during a garden party at the Chantilly Castle on the eve of the Prix de Diane. Actor Aishwarya Rai Bachchan, ambassador for the brand and face of the new...Read more
Longines Masters of Los Angeles Returns for a Second YearHaute Living, June 25th
Swiss watchmaker Longines will return to LA this October for the second annual Longines Masters of Los Angeles. Last year's inaugural event in the City of Angels was immediately rated as the number one indoor show jumping competition according to the ...Read more
Longines Becomes Official Title Sponsor of Three Masters Series EventsHollywood Reporter, June 23rd
Luxury watchmaker Longines has signed on with EEM to become the official title partner of the Longines Masters series on three continents — Europe, Asia and America. Created by EEM, the Masters concept was introduced in 2009 with the first edition of...Read more
Princess Haya receives prestigious Longines awardHorsetalk, June 16th
Princess Haya was presented with the Longines Ladies Award by Longines vice-presidents Juan-Carlos Capelli, left of Princess Haya, and Charles Villoz, right. Also pictured are the awards jury, from left, Nathalie Bélinguier, president of the...Read more
Longines Celebrates Its First Triple Crown With American Pharoah WinForbes, June 10th
However, the third leg of what is commonly considered to be a thoroughbred racehorse's greatest accomplishment eluded Longines until 2013, when it inked a deal with the Belmont Stakes to become the official watch and timekeeper of the famed event...Read more